Achieving Gold Star Content in … The World of Food & Drink

Katy Ennis-Hargreaves, Cry Havoc’s Creative Director, samples the latest food and drink trends and shares a menu of content musts…

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The food and drink industry is larger than the automotive and aerospace industries combined. With a turnover of £97.3bn, which accounts for 19% of total UK manufacturing and contributed £28.8bn to the UK economy last year (1). 

We’ve certainly become a nation of foodies, with food and drink content taking over on social. User Generated Content (UGC) packs out our social feeds – showcasing pride, envy or embarrassment. Take the Facebook page Rate My Plate for instance, where members post pictures of their meals to be rated by fellow users with predictably humorous responses. Love it or loathe it, it’s currently taking the platform by storm – highlighting the benefits of high user engagement.

But if we look beyond UGC and infinitely moreish food videos, what’s out there and where is the market going? Here’s my top 6 observations on what to look out for …


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1. It’s not just about being “picture-perfect”

While we often see “food porn” content (191 million+ images are tagged #foodporn on Instagram) (2), over half of UK consumers surveyed recently (3) want to see real content from brands. 

It’s a fine balance – inspirational and aspirational food content sells the dream, but having that natural, human element portrays a sense of reassurance and accessibility. This is certainly something we advocate in our own food styling and photography.

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2. The sustainability train

We all know sustainability is a piping hot topic, but it doesn’t just stop at food and drink packaging.

In fact, 53% of UK consumers want to see informative content from brands (3), to understand how they can join the cause through their own shopping habit switches.

A good example of this is Knorr, part of the Unilever kitchen, who’ve truly embraced this with “The Future 50 Foods” report (4 & 5), which covers issues with the global food chain, as well as showing 50 foods we should eat more to promote a sustainable ecosystem. These foods have been selected because they have a lower impact on the environment than animal-based foods, as well as being highly nutritious.

As consumer demands grow, expect more of this strong visual content to blossom; bringing ethics and food ever closer.

Drinks? It’s the same story. The product share of the Organic Beers, Wines & Spirits market grew by 21% from 2017-18 (6). What’s more, 2019 sales of organic wine increased by 53% YOY, according to The Waitrose Food and Drink Report (7).

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3. Be as adventurous as you can

Social media is opening our eyes to new types of food and drink – from experimental ingredients to brand new ways of preparing and showcasing food and drink. Take Instagram, where more than 1 in 3 of UK food shoppers often find new food or recipe ideas they want to try on there (8).

Need more proof? Check out the recent Waitrose Food and Drink report (7), which shows an astronomic rise in popularity for the likes of Miso, Jackfruit and Kefir – all of which are commonly featured on social media channels.

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4. Food as a way of life 

Let’s face it, food has always been pretty darn important in the great scheme of things. We’ve always needed it to…well…function. But despite this, it’s only recently that functional eating has broken into mainstream popularity, certainly in the social space.

This is all part of the everyday eating routine, promoting foods that contain specific minerals, vitamins, fatty acids or dietary fibre, as well as foods with antioxidants and probiotics. How can brands be a part of it?

Promote your everyday benefits. Almost 80% of UK consumers said that they took action after seeing product information from following a brand, visiting their website or making a purchase online (10).

 For an idea how to do it right, have a look at Alpro’s Pinterest page (11). It’s packed with boards a-plenty, sharing more meal solutions and healthy/healthier options than you can shake a stick at. As more brands evolve their social presence, particularly on Pinterest, this attention to daily detail will become the norm for more and more food and drink brands.

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5. Personality still packs a punch

As 44% of UK consumers will attest, they’re happy to follow a brand, based on the content alone – as long as it resonates with them. (3)

That’s why, if you’re got a sense of humour, you can’t help but smile at the inventiveness of Innocent’s inimitable brand style. Whether they want to talk about a new product, sustainability or something as mundane as work experience – they manage to inject it with a winning blend of product and personality (12). And with typical organic post reactions in the thousands, it’s a winning pairing for their most engaged customer base!

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6. Simplicity, executed brilliantly, is best

We love food and drink content that tells a story, supports a cause, or demonstrates the pinnacle of culinary expertise. But sometimes (actually, quite often), we find there’s something about truly simple, rustic and honest food content that stirs our emotions and gets us truly engaged with brands in a way nothing else can match.

I mean, you only have to see one of Waitrose’s most-liked Instagram photos from last year – a classic shot of their Fluffy Jacket Potatoes (below, centre shot)(13) – to give you foodie goose bumps!

And last but not least – take a look at House Beautiful’s survey (14), which shows the British love of simple food, with the top spots taken up with Curry, Avocado and Fish & Chips.

Somethings will never change. So simple food with simply beautiful photography? Now that’s a winner, every time…


As you’ve probably gathered by now –  we love our food and drink!

But we also love great content – particularly the disruptive, stop-customers-in-their-tracks type of content… in fact, it’s what we live for. 

We see the content world continually evolving and are really proud to be part of it, every step of the way. 

We would love to support you in your food and drink content challenges, across any of your digital and traditional media formats. Want to see what the future holds? #LetsCryHavoc together!

To find out more about Cry Havoc, call Simon on 07939 502212, email simon.peers@cry-havoc.co.uk - or pop in for a brew!


References and Credits:

(1) BDO Food & Drink Report
https://www.bdo.co.uk/en-gb/food-and-drink-report  
(2) CATERING TO TOMORROW’S FOOD SHOPPER report Facebook 2019
https://www.facebook.com/business/news/insights/catering-to-the-tastes-of-tomorrows-food-shopper

(3) How to take your Instagram content to the next level’, Facebook, (February 2019)
https://www.facebook.com/business/news/insights/how-to-take-your-instagram-content-to-the-next-level

(4) Knorr Report
https://www.knorr.com/content/dam/unilever/knorr_world/global/online_comms_/knorr_future_50_report-1603451.pdf

(5) Knorr Social 
https://www.facebook.com/knorruk/?brand_redir=153284438072703

(6) Nielsen report
Nielsen Scantrack Total Coverage Food & Drink (supermarkets and convenience stores) 52 weeks ending 29 December 2018

(7) Waitrose Food and Drink report
https://www.waitrose.com/content/dam/waitrose/Inspiration/Waitrose%20&%20Partners%20Food%20and%20Drink%20Report%202018.pdf

(8) Accenture Food and Drink Survey, commissioned by Facebook, November 2018

(9) Selection of content from Waitrose & Partners Instagram page

(10) ‘How Instagram can boost brands and drive sales’, Facebook (February 2019)
https://www.facebook.com/business/news/insights/how-instagram-boosts-brands-and-drives-sales

(11) Alpro Pinterest 
https://www.pinterest.co.uk/alpro/healthy-lunch-ideas/

(12) Selection of content from Innocent Instagram page

(13) Waitrose and Partners Instagram page

(14) House Beautiful
https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/lifestyle/food-drink/a23061169/most-instagrammed-foods-dishes-uk/